Artichokes, so misunderstood...
"These things are just plain annoying. After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual "food" out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. Have the shrimp cocktail instead." - Miss Piggy
Ah, the humble artichoke, that quiet and unassuming thistle that shoppers often pass by because they haven't a clue about how to cook it. There are varied recipes out there, some requiring more effort than others.
What is an artichoke?
It's a vegetable with arching, deeply lobed, silvery leaves. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8–15 cm (3–6 in) diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple.
The yummy portions of the buds are, according to Wikipedia, "primarily the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the heart; the mass of immature florets in the center of the bud is called the choke or beard [...] The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom.
Can I grow my own?
Home gardeners might have some success growing them. There are quite a few cultivators out there that work in northern states, though I've never tried to grow them myself. There's good advice to be had via gardening site in the us; I use RHS.org for tips. Their site provides a picture of the actual plants and bed. It's just... ugly as hell.
Please bear in mind that they are thistles. Don't plant them were pets or small children could stumble into them.
Do they taste good?
This treat has a rewarding flavor, can be a satisfyingly hands-on primal food experience, and really doesn't take much effort to prepare. You can stuff them with bread crumbs, or cut out the heart completely and cook it in oil. Steam. Boil. Bake. So many ways!
Prep & cooking & eating!
Take a look at the diagram on the right. This diagram is bullshit. Please do NOT hack the thistle at that scissor line. Remember, this is a primal treat.
Please DO remove the choke (hairy bit) before eating the heart.
One of my favorite sites, Full Circle, breaks down how to prep AND how to eat that artichoke.
To eat the artichokes, peel off a leaf and place the lighter-colored end in your mouth between your top and bottom teeth, flesh side down. Gently clamp down and scrape the soft, pulpy delicious part of the artichoke leaf off with your teeth. You can choose to dip your artichoke leaves in melted butter or mayonnaise, but they’re also delicious plain.
This recipe stems (no pun intended) from my Single Girl On Her Own days.
Total Time: 1-2 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 1-2 hr depending on artichoke size and number in pot
Yield: 1 serving per artichoke
One or more artichoke
2 tablespoons butter for each artichoke
Salt and pepper to taste.
Clip the thorns off every leaf and then take a knife to the very top, leaving the purple leaves exposed.
Cut the stem so the artichoke stands completely upright. I sometimes made an "x" in the stem bottom, if the 'choke is large.
Pry open the entire thing just a little. Add butter. Go on, squash it in there. Or just add a few teaspoons' worth. Salt, pepper to taste. All of these goodies melt and run down, making both leaf bottoms and heart tender.
Method 1: Place upright artichokes in a pot, adding enough water to reach the first three rows of leaves.
Method 1: Place artichokes upright in a steamer tray. Fill pot with water until it touches the holes of the steamer tray. Keep an eye on it and add more water if it boils away.
Cook covered on medium heat until a leaf can be pulled out of the 'choke easily, and the bottom of that leaf is soft.
Cooking times will vary depending on the size of each 'choke, the amount in the pot, and your desired degree of soft.
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, December 30). Artichoke. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:17, December 31, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Artichoke&oldid=1062862973
Full Circle contributors. (2018, April 23). How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke. In Full Circle. Retrieved 19:15, December 31, 2021, from http://goodfoodlife.fullcircle.com/how-to-cook-and-eat-an-artichoke/